Kubbra Sait could well be the break-out character in the much-appreciated Netflix Orignal Sacred Games. Kubbra plays Cuckoo, Ganesh Gaitonde’s first love – and one of the most unique characters in the history of Indian cinema. TheDigitalHash caught up with Kubbra for an exclusive chat. Here’s the transcript:
It was a simple casting process. It happened via Mukesh Chhabra’s casting. But it was a recommendation made by Ankur Tiwari. He told Anurag that he knows only one woman who can play this role and that’s Kubbra. So, I went to the audition and bagged the project – but it wouldn’t be possible without a great casting team.
I didn’t have any time to get ready for the character. The first time I got into the character was the look test. Two days after the look test, I was told that I was on board and the shooting started two days after that. So, I had no time to prepare for this character.
There was no time for me to go visit a transgender and pick up the mannerisms. So, what I did was watch a transgender comedian in the US, who used to be a woman and is now a man. I had seen that a long time ago, during my workshop with Mukesh Chhabra. The other film I saw was The Danish Girl.
I feel there’s no difference in the personality when you change genders. Also, according to me, the characteristics of a man and woman aren’t very different. A transgender is not the character for me, for me, the character was a dancer – that was the character I played.
The warmth I got from the crew and Anurag was incredible. They knew what this character was, and it is all credit to them that the character really grew. In the book, there’s only a passing reference to Gaitonde’s affair with a transgender. The credit of creating such a character goes to the writers and Anurag.
It was a cool, calm and entirely professional environment to work in. We used to do our stuff, but we also used to sit around, have coffee. I also started smoking for this role. Because the role required me to have a voice with a certain hoarseness. But that’s not just me, everyone has given their best for this series. The way the series was shaping up, there wasn’t anyone thinking whether we are working for 12 hours or 1 hours. And that’s because the whole crew was there – it’s not like some were lounging away somewhere and the others were working – everyone was completely involved in the series. The scene where Kukoo breaks down, that was a very important scene for me and the series itself
The love story that’s out there between the two, that’s all to the credit of the writers. Nawaz’s character’s love for the Cuckoo character is something one hasn’t seen earlier. It’s such a pure kind of love – for him, winning Kukoo is winning Mumbai. That love is completely pure, and it has its moments. Like the Parveen Babi scene – where they discuss something that’s so literally out there. That’s the kind of love, where sometimes she cocky with him and sometimes he’s cocky with her.
The brief I got from Anurag was that I want this character to be loved, I want her to be a diva. I want her to be the most beautiful person anyone has ever set their eyes on.
See, from the first day I met him, I knew that he isn’t one of those insecure actors. I first met him at a corporate award ceremony. On the sets, I met him after a long time and the first scene we had was a sex scene. After the scene, I was all around, hugging him and calling him cute. I felt that comfortable and safe with him. I was very comfortable with him from the first scene itself, because he was never like ‘this is my frame and this is my scene.’ I was so comfortable working with him because he’s an actor who gives to the scene and doesn’t take from it.
I am all for experimenting. I will never say no to a role because it’s different. I played a housemaid in Ready, I was an anchor for Sultan, I played the role of a dominating wife in Going Viral. And then, I had no apprehensions for doing this role because I could see the story, I could see what kind of stuff we were working with.
There’s a lot of stuff that I am currently looking into. I will tell you about it when I can!